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New target for maintaining healthy blood pressure discovered
Date:4/24/2009

PHILADELPHIA - In trying to understand the role of prostaglandins a family of fatty compounds key to the cardiovascular system in blood pressure maintenance, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and colleagues discovered that mice that lack the receptor for one type of prostaglandin have lower blood pressure and less atherosclerosis than their non-mutant brethren.

The results indicate that the normal role for the type of prostaglandin studied, PG F2-alphais to increase blood pressure and accelerate atherosclerosis, at least in rodents, and suggest that targeting this pathway could represent a novel therapeutic approach to cardiovascular disease.

The results appeared this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Blocking this prostaglandin receptor may provide a strategy for controlling blood pressure and its attendant vascular disease," notes senior author Garret A. FitzGerald, MD, Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at Penn.

To address prostaglandins' role in maintaining blood pressure, FitzGerald and his team, including researchers from the University of Southern Denmark, created strains of mice in which both the maternal and paternal copies of the gene for the PG F2-alphareceptor were deleted. They did this in mice with a normal genetic background and in ones that contained an additional mutation in the low-density lipoprotein receptor gene. These manipulations effectively rendered the mice unable to respond to the prostaglandins.

The delicate balance the body maintains to keep blood pressure stable involves not only the prostaglandin system, but another biological pathway, the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. Under conditions of low blood pressure, the liver secretes a protein called angiotensiogen. Renin, an enzyme produced by the kidneys, cleaves angiotensiogen into a p
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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